by STEVEN GEHEGAN//Sports Editor
With all of the money that is on the line for star college athletes, it seems that the players should look out for themselves, since it seems that the university will not.
During the college football bowl season, two college stars, Leonard Fournette of Louisiana State University, and Christian McCaffrey from Stanford University, decided to skip the bowl games that their university was playing in. Fournette sat out the Buffalo Wild Wings Citurs Bowl, while McCaffrey sat out the Sun Bowl.
While it seems to many people that these players were quitting on their team, the difference in money from the first round and the second round of the National Football League draft is enough that more players should think about skipping bowl games.
There are more than 40 bowl games that are played each year, and that number seems to be growing more each season. The more that are added, the less important the smaller bowl games are. With the addition of the college football playoffs, people are caring less about bowl games.
I am not suggesting that all of the draft picks sit out, or even the end-of-the-first-round-draft picks they should play to help their draft stock. But every year, there are 10 players who are top draft picks who probably should not damage their draft stock by playing in meaningless games.
There are only three games that are important in the bowl season, and those are the college football semi- finals and the championship. Those games can help their draft stock, since they are playing against the best talent.
While the players who sat out bowl games will not admit it, it seems that the major knee injury to Jaylon Smith from the University of Notre Dame is the reason they are sitting out bowl games. Smith went from a sure high first-round pick, then falling to the second round of the NFL draft. A fall in the draft that big costs a player millions of dollars. Now why would a player risk that much money to play in one final game that has little impact on the season? While this is not the first injury that cost a player to fall in the draft, it seems that this was weighing on the minds of the players.
Another reason that Fournette and McCaffrey might have thought about is the fact that they both play the running back position. That position seems to be slowly devalued in the NFL, with most teams using multiple backs. Or it could be the fact that the lifespan of a running back seems to be the shortest of all positions. With these factors working against both Fournette and McCaffrey, it would make sense for them to go get all of the money they can, while they are able to do so.
While there were just a few players sitting out bowl games this year, it would make sense for this trend to continue. Top players should sit out meaningless bowl games to avoid losing out on potential earnings from the NFL.
Now is the time for student athletes to start looking out for themselves, since no one else will.